P2P NCS Boys Baseball Honors
El Cerrito's Ricky Salas is the NCS Freshman of the Year.

NCS Freshman of the Year
RICKY SALAS, EL CERRITO

Salas wasted no time making an impact at the varsity level as a freshman this season for the Gauchos, winning his first start on the mound on March 1, and going on to establish himself as not only a go-to guy on the El Cerrito staff, but also one of the top starters in the TCAL’s Rock Division.

In his initial high school campaign, Salas put together a 1.65 ERA in his nine starts, and 10 total appearances, including that first win over John Swett and a tremendous outing in the first round of the playoffs against two-seed Northgate, when he came on in relief and held the Broncos to one hit and no runs over 5 2/3 innings.

For the season, the freshman racked up 56 strikeouts in 46 innings pitched, and all four of the losses he was saddled with came against league champions, three to TCAL-Rock champion Saint Mary’s and the fourth to Solano County champion Benicia. In two of those losses, he allowed just two earned runs combined while striking out 12 batters in 8 2/3 innings. He finished the year with an overall record of 4-4 in his nine starts, and his outing against Northgate allowed the Gauchos to push the Broncos to an 11-inning game in the first round.

Meanwhile, Salas had a mid-season stretch where he dazzled against league opponents, teams fighting with the Gauchos for final positioning in the standings.

In early April, he posted a complete-game one-hit shutout against Salesian, who finished one game ahead of El Cerrito. Salas struck out 12 and walked just one batter in that performance, facing just four batters over the minimum in the process. Two weeks later, he held De Anza to just two hits and no earned runs in a 12-1 victory, striking out eight, and one week after that, scattered three hits in a win over Pinole Valley, once again not allowing an earned run. Opposing batters hit just .179 against Salas, who also helped turn three double plays from the mound.

Other players considered for this award include Fremont Christian’s Tyler Woodman, Lick-Wilmerding’s Nick Rubin, St. Vincent de Paul’s Gio Antonini, Moreau Catholic’s Gerardo Vargas, and Urban’s Robert Ciulla.

NOTE: We would like to thank our media partners, coaches, parents, players and fans for contributing photos for our all-section features. We salute all of the players that have made this a wonderful season of NCS baseball.